M.S.: Yeah, very much so. I will introduce what I say was please play games, please enjoy them but the only reason to do so is because they are fun.
Rob: You don't expect them to increase your performance or anything like that?
M.S.: No, again what you need to do is read the fine print in the literature. This is a major marketing campaign about how they're assisting with gross motor skills and all kinds of things. You have to read the fine print on this. The other is, at what cost? Yes they do improve rote skills but it's at the cost of innovative skills, so that some of what I was talking about. So, for example, if you're driving a car and you know the road very well, it will improve your route, your knowledge of the road but if there's another car coming at you and you need to react in a real life situation not a screen situation, turns to those spontaneous skills. It's reducing the spontaneous skill which seems really counterintuitive when you look at the way some of the games are designed.
Rob: I just want to jump in because I don't know how much time we're going to have but you have a big chapter on alpha, alpha brain waves and what you're discussing now is in that chapter. How does it, let's take a step back and talk about alpha brain waves. What you've learned, what you know about them and let's take a segment on this show to talk about that. Let me just do a brief break. This is Rob Kall Bottom Up radio show WNJC 1360 AM speaking with Dr. Mari Swingle who's the author of i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming, and Social Media Are Changing Our Brains, Our Behavior, and the Evolution of Our Species and we're focusing on a specific kind of brain wave that Dr. Swingle studies in her work as a neurotherapist working with EEG, biofeedback and brain analysis. So go. Mari?
M.S.: Oh sorry I wasn't sure if we were on a break or not. Yeah alpha, where to go with alpha? This is going to be huge. I'll do my best, a couple of things I want to go over here is alpha is a beautiful brainwave. It governs so much and one of my issues with a lot of the gaming devices that say they promote alpha, great but where in the brain? What amplitudes? To what purpose?
Rob: Let's start with just the basic what is the alpha brain? What is the alpha brain wave? What is it associated with normally in a healthy person?
M.S.: Right, okay. Alpha is highly associated with almost everything depending on its proportion and where it is. So it's associated with creativity, it's associate with attention, it's associated with the ability to relax, if it's low alpha, for example, from 8 to 9 hertz, you don't want a lot of it for concentration. If it's high alpha, for example, 11 to 12 hertz, you do so we really watch those ratios. You want a lot of 10 hertz alpha, that's associated with intelligence, superior intelligence. You want alpha to go up when you close your eyes that's associated with wonderful creativity. You also want alpha to switch on and off it's an idling frequency so it's the ability, I think the example I used in my book is fighter pilot. So you essentially want to be in a state of calm alertness not hyper vigilance until you are under fire. So, for example, if people are always in a state of hyper vigilance, they fatigue and then they make errors, for example, in war situations. So I guess what I'm trying to say is alpha does so many things depending on what hertz and amplitude and where it is in the brain. Another example is you don't want a lot of low alpha up in the frontal region; this is a form of ADHD. Rob, I don't know how I can go on.
Rob: Ok, let's just go with that little nugget there. You don't want a lot of low alpha in the frontal region, the frontal region that's your executive functioning part of the brain. That's the upper levels of the brain in terms of top down bottom up it's really where the top down stuff happens. That's where you do analysis and soldering and so what happens is if you have low alpha in the frontal part of the brain?